Saturday, August 11, 2007

8/11/07 The haircuts

It was time. Katrina's "bangs" were wisping down to the bridge of her nose. So when she wasn't (exactly) looking, I managed to hold a little of those wisps between two fingers and get in a hack or two as she flailed her head wildly from side to side.

Some before and after shots:

I think Julian did a better job on his own hair a few weeks ago, but this will have to do.

Dave took the boys to get haircuts today too. This is as cooperative as I could get either of them to be for photos. I used to think the gel job was dorky, but now I love it. I love dorky.

Fortunately we had Peggy today, so that we could do some remodel shopping and be grownups for an evening. It was long overdue.

Speaking of overdue, I haven't had my own hair cut since the day before Katrina was born, unless you count chopping off the very deadest fly-away bits at the end of a ponytail. Another dorky hack job. Maybe I should have Julian do it.


Friday, August 10, 2007

8/10/07 Baby bust

Argh, not a rewarding baby day. Lots and lots of tense, hectic moments when everyone wants something from me, including me, and baby is screeching her head off. Walk through the door carrying groceries, gym bag, baby....Gabriel wants milk, Julian wants a particular song, Katrina wants valet service, I want to unpack groceries, change clothes, get a drink, put things away in the kitchen to have room to do task #1.... Ah, so far lost are the days when you walked through the door and just collapse and gather yourself for a few minutes. I can't even blow my nose!

To make matters worse, the old trick of sitting Katrina in the high chair and keeping her happy with cereal for a few minutes no longer works. She's decided she must be served finger food, stuff she's perfectly capable of picking up herself, but for some reason, deigns not to. It is utterly futile to insist, as she will shriek her head off and there is no lesson to be learned from sticking it out and making a point with her. After all, she's only 10 months old. At least, I hope it's age and not personality.

The boys kept themselves busy this morning with a new use of their toys: piling them up into a "train."

Against my better judgement, I let the boys play with a new whiteboard, and two dry-erase markers. It overall worked OK, though I did have to set a "turns timer" later in the day.

But there's a new sheriff in town! And someone else to share with. Katrina made a baby-beeline for the attractive new items. Mmmm, toxic permanent marker, yummy.

(This picture is for Cousin Remi, who's famous for her numerous creative use of markers: chewing, dipping in toilets then chewing, drawing on walls, herself, etc.)

Still, I was very glad to put a demanding, edgy, unpredictable baby to bed tonight. I'm afraid we've had enough days in a row of this that it's no longer an "off" time -- I think this is for real. Her newborn self has re-emerged; the sweet smiley darling little thing of 7 months old has yielded to pre-toddler behavior. And the fact that she takes much more after Gabriel than Julian scares the bejeezus out of me.

Then again....Julian. Pre-dinner pee & wash hands has become SUCH a problem. Right as I'm at my peak busy serving dinner, I have to round the boys up and get them to get ready. My divide-and-conquer strategy of starting with one of them works, halfway: Gabriel is usually pretty speedy. But Julian....oh my goodness. Excuses, procrastination, whining, refusal, screaming, crying. It's supremely irritating, and I just don't have room for the endless reminders, warnings and countdowns.

Tonight, Calm Mom gave way to I'VEHADIT, and I carried him upstairs, kicking and screaming, unmoved by his claims of rehabilitation and cries that I was hurting him, tossed him into his room and demanded he stay there until I called for him. Then, my job of serving dinner was reduced to only mayhem, punctuated by the high-maintenance banshee-wailings of my dear daughter if Dad so much as looked the other way while he waited on her hand and foot. Sheesh.

At least I know that when I put Katrina down for the night, I won't see her until the morning. Thank goodness. Gabriel at her age was well into his -- and my -- all-nighters, applying his powerful determination and persistence to a wee-hours party. But, Gabriel also took two 2-hour naps a day, whereas Katrina takes one 1+ hour nap and another 1- hour nap. Sleeping through the night v. great, sleeping through the night wins.

Speaking of sleep, I was way way wired up last night. None of my usual wind-down methods worked to settle my spinning mind, not even half an Ambien. I was awake until 3am, slept lightly, and couldn't fall soundly back asleep even when woken up by a flock of noisy crows at 6am. I was very tired this morning, but still couldn't nap when I had the chance this morning during Katrina's nap.

But I recognize this energy surge now. It marks the end of a migraine. Yes folks, the storm finally broke, and when it did, the sun shone through so brightly it was blinding. Tonight, I should be back on track. Let's hope Katrina is soon too.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

8/9/07 Broccoli

I went running tonight, and wrote a SHORT blog in my head. It went about like this:

Day 5 of migraine. Napped today 'til noon. I SO needed the catch-up.

Gabriel was delayed tonight by a broken-down bus on the way back from a field trip to his first real-live baseball game. He, of course, was thrilled, and delivered the expected analysis upon return: broken driveshaft. Oh.

Julian peacefully munched on raw broccoli stems while I made dinner as a mother of two. How MUCH easier my life is when the boys are apart!

And who knew broccoli stems would make such a tasty treat.

(Man, that boy has a beautiful mouth. His hair on the other hand....)

I attempted one of those cute candid conversations with Julian, but it's pretty mediocre. Here it is anyway.

I don't have a cute photo of Katrina today. This will have to do. She's wearing a spare set of clothes that I sent along to Tonya's, since the cute strawberry outfit she was in hampered crawling. This outfit is just too pink for me. And I just can't get myself to like collars.

Julian today suggested I give his monkey Julius a kiss on the forehead to make the pain go away. Ouch. Why do you think he thinks that kissing foreheads makes headaches go away? That was my way of turning my complaint into a positive, by pretending my headache is all better when the boys give me a kiss on the forehead. But I don't have to pretend much. Few things make me feel better than kisses from my sweet sons.

Short. Remember? SHORT! Maybe there's a chance if I stop....right....NOW.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

8/8/07 The Target Day

Our first Wednesday in a long time with nothing scheduled. But somehow, all we managed to do was go to Target!

First, it's Day 4 of a migraine. Today was better, but still oppressive. Julian came to my defense this morning when Katrina was doing her piercing high-pitched shrieking: "Shh, Katrina! Mommy doesn't like that!" Then Gabriel surprised me when I asked him not to make a loud sound, and he said, "Geez Mom, it's been like 3 days!" Why would he know that's a long time for a headache? He's never had one! (and it's been 4, not 3). I try not to complain to the kids about having headaches, but I also don't want them to think I'm always like this. There is a reason.

One strange new thing about these long migraine bouts is the violent and disturbing imagery that flashes through my head as I'm falling asleep. It's scary in a kid-scary sort of way, like a weird evil double leprechaun staring at me, or a big greasy black crow, or being atop rafters in a skyscraper and about to fall off. When it wakes me up, I coach myself to think about something much more benign, like exactly where to place a garbage pull-out cabinet in my future new kitchen!

But enough about that. Today I had just Julian and Katrina, and wanted to take them out this morning. But Katrina was edgy, and I called it right by staying home until she took her morning nap at 10am.

Meantime, she and Julian played together -- yes, together! -- in the family room. This was a very heartwarming scene of them playing with Mr. PotatoHead, each in their own way, but most certainly together, as I cleaned up in the kitchen.

I tried to capture some video of Katrina bopping to Sesame Street, but as soon as she saw the camera, she launched into show-off mode and started crawling toward me. You can see a split second of bopping at first, then her noisy crawling. But the funny thing I didn't even realize until seeing it later: Julian trying to inject himself in the background. Goofy kid!

I had some nice time alone with my sweet middle child today, though it'd have been a lot nicer without the relentless searing pain through my head (oops, there I go again).

I embarked on a rite of passage today, an annual ritual which will be with me for another 18 years, something akin to the running of the bulls: I did my first back-to-school shopping! Oh God!

Gabriel's kindergarten orientation last June included a list of requested donated supplies for his classroom. Katrina and Julian in tow, I diligently searched for, mostly found, all items (including 36 glue sticks?!) in the huge "back to school" section at Target, which was swamped with throngs of other mothers toting other toddlers and similar lists. (Note that I didn't buy one pencil or notebook for Gabriel, as his utterly inadequate kindergarten orientation materials didn't include anything about him.)

As I was checking out, I was starting to get stressed and frantic because Katrina was getting increasingly edgy, grabbing things, making lots of "I'm about to melt down" noises, plus trying to get everything into the cart. Julian was off looking at the photo center's screens as I paid and gathered my loot.

Or was he?

Next thing I knew, a lady approached me holding Julian's hand, and Julian pointed to me saying, "There's my Mom!" She told me he'd been outside. !!!! Yikes! He couldn't have been out there for more than a few seconds, but still. I felt self-conscious and false scolding him; that's really more my fault. Still, I'd been having lots of trouble getting him to stick with me, so I did give him a stern lecture, and later, a stern talking-to by Dad. His explanation was that he went outside to look for me, but he obviously knew where I was since he led the lady right to me.

Any notions I had about taking my poor cooped-up children to a park after Target were squashed by a grumpy, screechy, wiggly baby. Home, snack, and nap it was.

I hear a New Yorker (wearing a Mets shirt, Ronan!) caught Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run ball yesterday. Too bad, 'cause guess where Gabriel is going tomorrow: to a San Francisco Giants game! He missed the record-breaking game by one! Can you imagine if he'd been there?! Well, he'll be there tomorrow, and now, every homer Barry hits is a new record. Gabriel was very, very interested in what a "record" is, and was riveted when he heard that it involved competition and numbers!

Tonight, Katrina had the same exact dinner as everyone else: beef medallions, a harvest grain mixture, and cauliflower, cut in baby-sized pieces straight off my plate. She got some soy yogurt too; I'm never sure if the tiny bits are enough in quantity, and she's certainly not too old for mushy-food. But she didn't blink when I gave her straight cauliflower. She knows exactly what to do with a sippy-cup too, unlike Gabriel who didn't "get" sippy-cups until he was 16 months old. I'm thrilled about her food flexibility. So far I've managed to escape food issues with all three.

(Poor I type, his Mac is completely hung up and won't even boot. Ah yes, the Mighty Macs, the infallible, foolproof, idiotproof, antithesis of Windows -- that can be completely hosed by a 3-year-old playing with the login dialog screen!! Stevie, have I got a QA guy for you!)


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

8/7/07 Wrung out

No kids today, but what a waste. Reeling under the migraine headache, and from being woken up out of sound sleep last night by intense searing stabbing pain behind my right eye (the so-called "icepick" variant of migraines).

My own compulsion didn't help matters. I made myself go running today after Gabriel's swim lesson, knowing this would be the only chance I'd have all day. And, I took a long, hard route -- too hard. I felt beat up. The uphills were brutal, with every muscle screaming, lactic acid coursing through every limb, barely able to lift my feet for each step. But the uphill effort obliterated other pains: the pounding headache, stitches, sleepiness, all which returned in force on the downhills. Yet I still loved being out there, all 7-1/2 miles of it.

After the long, very hard run, I picked up a yummy salad and a few other things at Whole Foods, then rewarded myself with a long hot bath, and then a long nap, after which I made some hot coffee and dug into my hard-won salad. It wasn't until 3pm that I finally sat down in the office to get to work. By then, I was in no mood to shop around for home equity lines of credit. So I updated my kitchen wish list instead.

Tonya had a tough time with Katrina today. Poor baby's tummy seems a little upset, so she used up all the diapers I'd brought, and then some of other babies'. Katrina likes looking at the bathtub as it's filling up, but tonight she was crying because of a resulting diaper rash.

I tried to get a happy picture of her, but the best I could do was to not show her face. Still, this is interesting -- she's inherited Mom's short legs!

Gabriel did great at his swim lesson again this morning. His teacher told me he's about to get bumped up a level, to a "red" ribbon. She laughed when I told her about last Saturday's new swim lesson, in which he was pulled off the side of the pool in a careful circle by a teacher going "whee!"

I realized today that now that Gabriel is old enough, swim lessons really do contribute to his water safety. I'm not sure when exactly the corner was turned, but it's not just for fun anymore. There's still a great deal of risk, some directly as a result of swim lessons: overconfidence, getting in over his head. But at this point, he's safer in a backyard pool than a kid who can't swim, perhaps even safer than a kid who depends on flotation devices. Which, according to various lifeguards and other water-safety sources, aren't always dependable. Better than nothing if you can't swim, but not as good as being able to swim. (In a pool that is; ocean and boat safety are a whole other matter.)

Even Julian is swimming well enough that I think his skill might possibly be a positive factor in a water emergency. Katrina, of course, swims only for fun and comfort in the water, so far. I'm looking forward to the boys starting swim lessons together (at the same time that is) at DACA on Saturdays starting in September.

I feel like I've been run over by a steamroller today. And I did it to myself. No running tomorrow, but no childcare either. Oh please, please, no migraine either. It subsided tonight, but I can feel flickers of it, like a thunderstorm taking a break before the next surge of lightning strikes.


Monday, August 06, 2007

8/6/07 Migraine Monday

Did today actually happen? It was just a big blur, of intense pressure and sharp pain. The few moments when I wasn't staggering in pain were spent feeling angry and frustrated that my life is so compromised by this. It's such a waste of time.

I think today was the first day ever that my most troublesome child (code for "least favorite," but face it, we all feel that way sometimes) was Katrina. Her new high-pitched screech is piercing, incredibly loud, long-lasting, and a very bad mix with a migraine headache. It's like someone's taking a sharp awl and stabbing it into my ears, and is torture when she's screeching in an echo-y bathroom when I'm changing her. Owch.

I guess one good thing about hurting so badly all day is that I couldn't even try to do much. So I spent some time playing music for Julian and Katrina and playing instruments with them. Katrina loves music, instantly bopping and flailing and smiling as soon as she hears it.

She had a lot of fun rattling an egg shaker, then banging on a drum with Julian, who also loves music. All kids do, really, but I think Julian takes to it more than Gabriel does. Katrina, we don't know yet; all three of my babies responded enthusiastically to music; Julian's stuck with it more than Gabriel.

After swim lessons today, I was beside myself with agony -- and I don't use that word lightly. So no matter how bad I felt, I was getting the younger two down for naps at the same time if it killed me. Indeed, failing at that is what would kill me. I pulled it off, and then went straight downstairs to scarf some lunch, then lie down.

But a Good Mom would have noticed that even my ultra-self-entertaining oldest child was bored. This is a new thing: Gabriel needs new things to do. All our toys are oriented to younger kids. He still plays frequently with his beloved wooden train tracks, but that's a toy he's had since before he was 2 (talk about longevity!). He's ready for more.

So I played a rainy-day trump card, and pulled out something I'd stashed for just such an occasion: a kit of foam pieces to glue together into a castle. He took right to it, and put it together meticulously, following the example picture exactly. This kept him happy the rest of the afternoon.

Tonight I was working on dinner, when suddenly, I saw the pantry door started to move mysteriously. Hmm! What could be going on here?

I soon had my answer.

Little creepy-crawly into the baking stuff. Right after my own heart!

Despite feeling exhausted and dejected, I made myself go to the Y tonight after Katrina was in bed. It helped somewhat. I have way too much to do tomorrow to waste it sleeping off a horrible headache.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

8/5/07 They're baa-aack....

23 days! I went 23 days without a migraine headache! The way this year's gone with headaches, that's downright startling.

I know this because I endured 9 straight days of life-altering brutal depressing pain in July, then got really really sick. But the first day I was really sick, I didn't have a headache. And haven't had one since.

Until last night, that is. I felt the "prodrome" -- the warning signs. Irrationally, unbearably, almost painfully sleepy, and very sensitive to loud sharp sounds, though who can tell? Loud sharp sounds are a way of life around here.

Then this morning...the onset of the familiar, dreadful, sharp, pressure and pain. Oh, how wonderful and free life is without it! How productive, optimistic, energetic -- even happy -- I can be about each day!

In the hurried $160 ten-minute brush-off I got from my last appointment (and I do mean last) with the headache doctor, between scribbling his notes and glancing nervously at the clock, he said slightly condescendingly that I should take the Imitrex when I first start to feel the migraine. I reminded him that he'd told me to take it at the onset of pain, not at the prodrome -- two events that can be separated by up to a day. No, no, he said, take it when you start to feel you're going to get it. Cap on pen. Close folder. Fold hands. Direct look at me. "Anything else?" Don't worry, I know where the door is.

I took some Imitrex this morning, and was overall pain-free until tonight, though the pressure and resulting sleepiness were still there all day. I went running tonight too, and the first half of the run was miserable, until the endorphins kicked in and overcame the pain. A good steep uphill took care of that.

My only outing today was to go to a friend's house that's being remodeled, to check out the kitchen and the whole house too. She and her husband and 3-year-old son moved out for the remodel, which is really more like building the entire house from scratch. Last week, I went to another friend's mother's house to check out her very well-thought-out and feature-filled kitchen too. One kitchen isn't finished; the other has been lived in for almost 20 years. Two very valuable perspectives! Each visit is very productive, in getting thinking about big things (flow) and small features (appliance garage or not?).

Lots of sniffing around other peoples' kitchens, reading magazines, quizzing friends and daydreaming has driven home the utter inadequacy of my own kitchen. My existing kitchen only has 5 drawers. Five! And one of those is broken! Which doesn't matter much because it's almost at the floor anyway. Most bathrooms have more drawers!

I brought Julian with me to check out my friend's house. I didn't want to stick Dave with all 3 alone if I didn't have to, and removing Julian from the mix is optimal. He seemed elated at this special trip, saying thank you to me again and again for bringing just him. He asked why Gabriel wasn't coming, and I explained, with some truth, that Gabriel was staying home to "take care" of Katrina. Julian was pretty good at my friend's construction-zone house, for a while, and when he started to get annoying, my friend's husband took him outside to look for squirrels, permanently making a new friend.

When we got home, it turned out that Katrina was still napping -- she took one three-hour nap today. As much as I love baby naps, I'm already ready for her to drop one nap, but she was so tired by 6:00pm that it's clear she's not ready for that yet. She's only 10 months old (today!) after all.

Well, I was looking forward to tomorrow, believe it or not, even though I'll have all 3 all day. Maybe it's because I know that "all 3 all day" is soon going to end, since Gabriel will belong to the schools in a few weeks. How infuriating that I'll spend one of those now-precious "all 3 all day" days fighting with a miserable headache and desperate to go to sleep. I could use another 23 days off.